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More than $26 billion in blood money, we deserves justice. Those who pushed drugs into these communities - looked the other way when profits got too high, and directed it all - have a lot to answer for. It's a cryin' shame. May the next generation think twice about their products.

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Jun 19·edited Jun 19

Thank you for your direct and compassionate report of a story unfolding in families all over the country (mine included). So much of what I've read on this subject is just poverty/addiction porn, and I appreciate your deft handling of a difficult and emotional issue for so many people. If anyone thinks this can't happen in their family, they should think again.

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It's such a shame that we have people and communities like this all over the United States who were stripped of their jobs and their dignity. It's certainly not just an opioid problem. Opioids are just one of the ways rural, working, and middle-class America has been hollowed out. But, according to the "elites" these communities voicing their anger at the ballot box is all about their moral failings? Yeah, right.

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It is unclear what a majority of grandparents living with grandchildren responsible for their care actually means. Please clarify

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I live in Charleston, West Virginia, was born and raised in the Southern Coalfields, and am an assistant prosecuting attorney in Fayette County. Each year, there are between 6-7 thousand children in foster care or in relative placements through the child welfare system. These numbers do not reflect the situation here-where grandparents step in before child protective services acts. Almost 95% of the crime in my county is also drug related. West Virginia is a beautiful, complicated place that is frequently the butt of jokes and her people unkindly stereotyped. Thank you for showing that most people in this situation (it’s happening everywhere in America) not only deserve our help and compassion, but also ways to economically progress and have opportunity.

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Thank you for giving these people a voice and bringing their stories to light.

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Olivia and TFP, this story breaks my heart. As a child and as an adult my family has participated in "adopting" children in need in other countries to help provide schooling, medical care, clothing, etc. We'd exchange letters over the years. Is it crazy to ask if we can "adopt" some of these "grand families"? Something like how we "adopt" local kids during the holidays to get them items off their list. What if it were things like school clothes money, paying an electrical bill, a sports or activity fee, an Amazon wish list...things that aren't huge but that would provide relief for these grandparents/kids and let them know they are loved and worthy? Sticking with these kids over their school years to encourage them in their journey would be amazing for both the receiver and the giver.

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My mother, a former alcoholic, had a minor car accident in 2004. Guess what the doctor prescribed her for minor pain? Oxycontin. I'll spare you most of the later details, you probably know how it ended.

I didn't have a childhood, I was robbed of it. How do you process being ten years old, sneaking into your mother's room to get your allowance a day early, and find hundreds of empty prescription bottles in the drawer?

It took me YEARS to have a normal life. Where's the justice?

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A very interesting article, well worth reading.

I thought Andrew Spear's photography was very good. He deserves accolades as well.

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What's the best way we can give to help these families?

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yes!

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founding

This story has to first grab your heart and makes me want to hug both grandparent and child. I then repeat to myself "why are you so blessed" How did you swerve your life around this hard bumpy road to not have any of your family affected. I need to quickly add >> not yet !!! Try and wrap your head around how many primarily young adults have killed themselves on purpose or unknowingly on drugs. Sorry but on drugs that we ALLOW to invade and infect our society at all levels. We know about them we know where most of them come from. From within meaning our pharmaceutical companies and outside primarily China and Mexico. Our attempts have failed miserably, thus more die inside our country from this failure than our soldiers have died fighting for us across the seas. So I have a brilliant idea that our governments across many states find attractive. They think their job is to raise money to help their citizens so let make legal another DRUG for our citizens to buy and make it much easier to obtain. Lets make it legal and lets make it seem innocent and "kinda Safe" !! Let us allow a massive black market that will compete with our goal of more tax revenue. Now our children have a choice to smoke THC and eat THC out in the open because slowly this now seems not only Ok but a good business plan for many people to invest in. Surely they will choose this "safe" drug because they are smart and will not consider trying those other bad drugs that can actually kill you. Approximately 71 countries do not allow the legal sale of Cannabis. Where are the adults in the room discussing whether we really need to add another drug to our society and also make it legal. All in the name of raising revenue and because "EVERYBODY thinks its Ok and safe".

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How very lucky of us are…to have healthy children & grandchildren. These women are examples of strength that should be recognized by & supported by the state.

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NIH tells us 73,838 people died of fentanyl overdoses in 2022. That's more than the total of Americans killed during the Vietnam war (58,220), the involvement in Afghanistan (2,402) and the Iraq War (4,492). And yet, the news media barely covers it and cartels continue to prey on addicts, the poor and the destitute.

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Star, if you are reading this, you're already extraordinary. Good luck to everyone profiled here and thanks to TFP for this powerful story.

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As I read this I think of my time working with an NGO in Africa. Grandparents raising many children because parents had died from hunger or disease. The only difference being the parents that orphaned these children HAD NO CHOICE! Oh what they would've given for a $200 cheque every year. Not for clothes to 'look as nice as the rich kids' but for food simply to survive. And we all proudly declare we're not racist.

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This is a part of America I didn’t know existed or more truthfully don’t want to know exists. This article breaks my heart. What amazing grandparents who step in to love, care for and save their grandchildren. The sheer drive for money and power from these pharmaceutical companies with no thought or care for the people they affect is shameful. Our family has been affected by the lack of conscience and the drive for money and power by Johnson and Johnson baby powder. They are doing everything they can to be absolved of any kind of responsibility. Thank you Olivia for bringing this to light so we can be aware of what is going on in our country. The next step is to do what we can within our sphere of influence to make things better.

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